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Will Microsoft VSTS 2010 Be as Good as the Demo

How you can reverse engineering and generate design documentation from code

Only once in a while you attend a product launch and come back with the impression that – yes – that is one feature I always wanted. (This happens frequently with Apple product launch.)

It was the Microsoft Tech-Ed event in Bangalore, end of day one and Amit Chatterjee, General Manager for the Visual Studio Test Business at Microsoft was talking about Visual Studio 2010. He talked about three features:

  1. How you can reverse engineering and generate design documentation from code
  2. How developer can recreate the exact scenario of a bug reported by the tester
  3. How agile project management aids have been incorporated

It is the second feature that caught my attention. A tester while reporting a bug can record the UI sequence leading up to the bug as a video and attach it to the bug. The developer can play the video, and see exactly how the bug happened. Developer can also replay the recorded test script to simulate the bug, examine the call stack when an exception is thrown and drill down to the code. It is called IntelliTrace. In addition to this you have the Test Impact Analysis Window which keeps developers informed about tests that need to rerun with every check-in.

This feature may be too good to be true in practice. There may be challenges in actually using these features. The process of recording may bring the testing process to a crawl. It may also not work in all circumstances.

But, I will be hoping that this feature delivers on the promise. How will this impact Test Driven Development?

Agile & VSTS
The second thought which occurred to me is that “Agile has really gone main stream”. There is no doubt about it because not only has Microsoft included support for agile project management but also thought it to be important enough to be listed in the top 3 features of VSTS 2010. Though, Scrum templates existed from 2005 onwards – it was never shown as a key feature.

Some time back I had done an analysis of Agile Tools Recommended by Experts based on a LinkedIn discussion. VSTS came in 5th. I suspect that if the same analysis is done a year from now VSTS will move up the ranking.

Microsoft understands developers
Vikram and Deepesh came back after attending the 3 day event with a gleam in their eye and a “Wow” expression. I suppose Microsoft understands developer better than anybody else.

They are also becoming more open to other platforms. For quite some time (2005-06) TFS had support for Eclipse, Linux, Unix and Mac OS. Did you know that Azure, their cloud computing platform, is not restricted to .Net? As long as your application works on MS SQL you should be able to migrate it to Azure. The application can be written in anything – PHP, Java – it only needs to run on Windows.

Software development is not like manufacturing
In last few months, I have met a lot of people who feel that lack of predictability in software engineering is because it is not mature enough as manufacturing or civil engineering – unfortunately I completely disagree with this view. For a change it was nice to meet somebody who agrees with me on this subject.

At the end of the day, there was a “CXO Panel Discussion” which was moderated by Tapan Acharya. Apart from me, the other panelists were:

  • Amit Chatterjee – Microsoft
  • D. R. Baghirathi – MindTree
  • Mahesh Prabhu – ITC infotech
  • P Sundar Varadaraj – Dell.
  • Raghavan  Subramanian – Infosys
  • Shankar Kambhapatti – Polaris.

During the “CXO Panel Discussion”, when we were discussion Amit said that “focus of manufacturing is to repeatable produce something” and the “focus of software development is to produce something which different from what already exists – otherwise there will be no need to create the software”.

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More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
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